Houston media icon Dave Ward, was honored at the 2015 Building the Block Crime Stoppers of Houston Gala on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at the Omni Houston Hotel. The Annual Gala, which serves as the organization's largest fundraiser, welcomed more than 560 guests and raised over $510,000 for Crime Stopper's Tip Line and crime prevention programs, which empower, educate, and engage the community in important conversations about crime, public safety and the protection of society's most vulnerable citizens.
|Chita Johnson, Gala Auction Chair Courtney Zubowski Haas (Photo Credit: Michelle Watson)|
|Dave Ward, Laura Ward, Ted Koppel (Photo Credit: Michelle Watson)|
The entire evening was weaved together perfectly with the direction and guidance of the visionary, Laura Ward.
The focus of the evening was to honor Ward for playing an instrumental role in creating the "media" reach of Crime Stoppers of Houston back in the early 1980s. It was his creativity and ingenuity that contributed to the famous (and internationally recognized) Crime Stoppers' reenactments. Thanks to his vision, Crime Stoppers of Houston has created a model that now leads the nation. Koppel was honored to be in Houston to celebrate Ward's contributions to Crime Stoppers and his incredible achievement of being the only news anchor to stay almost 50 years on one anchor chair, in one station, in one city, in one state. Surprise video tributes from two very special friends of Ward, former First Lady Barbara Bush and NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly all the way from outer space, were played during the night.
The celebration continued with messages from several 'Friends of Dave', Governor Mark White, 43rd Governor of the Great State of Texas, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Founder, President and CEO of The Richland Companies and John Eddie Williams, founding partner of Williams Kherkher.
One of the biggest highlights of the night was a surprise visit from a very special friend of Ward who insisted on flying to Houston for this special occasion - Grammy and Emmy Award-winning artist and producer Steve Tyrell who sang "You've Got a Friend in Me" live on stage for his friend.
Before the night was over, the surprises continued as a well-kept secret was finally revealed. Because of Ward's dedication to his city, career and Crime Stoppers, Mankarious announced that the first-ever Crime Stoppers of Houston headquarters will forever be named The Dave Ward Building Crime Stoppers of Houston. Ward was astonished by the big unveil and was lost for words as he stood in front of the podium. He compared the extraordinary moment to his wedding day and birth of his children.
The evening left Ward speechless, but the celebration continued on the next day, Friday, October 30, 2015 at the 3000 Block on Main Street for the Crime Stoppers of Houston Headquarters Groundbreaking Ceremony. Koppel along with the Board of Directors, elected officials, men and women in blue and others joined in for photos to commence the city's first Public Safety and Crime Prevention Block. Welcoming remarks were made by Crime Stoppers Executive Director Rania Mankarious, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Kathryn Stasney Childers and Fenner Weller, Franco Valobra of Harris County Sheriff's Office Foundation, Dave Ward, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Houston Police Department Chief Charles McClelland and Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman. State Representative Gene Wu presented a resolution honoring the work of Crime Stoppers and recognition of Dave Ward at the 2015 Gala. Closing remarks were made by Crime Stoppers Vice Chairman of the Board Hazem Ahmed.
|Dave Ward, Laura Ward, Rania Mankarious, Ted Koppel (Photo Credit: Michelle Watson)|
|Future Crime Stoppers Office (Courtesy Crime Stoppers of Houston)|
|John and Wendy Granato (Photo Credit: Michelle Watson)|
|Henry Florsheim, Rebecca Campbell, Mayor Annise Parker & Doe Florsheim (Photo Credit: Michelle Watson)|
|Rania Mankarious, Steve Tyrell, Roula Christie (Photo Credit: Michelle Watson)|
|Miya Shay and State Representative Gene Wu, Gina Gaston Ellie (Photo Credit: Michelle Watson)|
If you would like to learn about Crime Stoppers of Houston and our prevention programs, visit www.crime-stoppers.org or call 713-521-4600.
(This post is taken from a press release sent to me by Crime Stoppers of Houston)